After 27 years with the Southern Star Group and now Endemol Shine Australia, John Edwards is going solo.

Edwards, who will reactivate his banner Rough Diamond Entertainment, describes the split as entirely amicable.

He will continue as a creative consultant for the sixth season of Offspring with producer Imogen Banks and the production team, and will work with Endemol Shine on a number of other scripted projects.

Banks and Mimi Butler transferred to Endemol Shine from the former Southern Star Endemol.

Endemol Shine CEOs Mark and Carl Fennessy said, “John Edwards is a true industry legend and one of the finest producers in the country. John leaves us on the very best of terms.”

Edwards tells IF, “This is very happy, very amicable. I have nothing but the highest regard for Mark and Carl: they are exceptional producers. This is a personal and business decision.

“The time has come for me to go out on my own. I'm very excited to be building a new business."

He says he is almost certain to work on another drama with Endemol Shine and on the Paul Hogan miniseries which is in development at the Nine Network if it gets the green light. That may be affected as FremantleMedia Australia plans to start shooting its Hogan project for Seven in early 2016.

In four decades Edwards has produced more than 600 hours of drama including The Beautiful Lie, Offspring, Gallipoli, Party Tricks, Love My Way, Paper Giants, Howzat! Kerry Packer's War, The Secret Life of Us, Rush and Police Rescue.

Delivering the Hector Crawford memorial lecture at Screen Forever he warned the drop in Australian TV drama production will continue if the free-to-air broadcasters continue to rely on telepics, miniseries and short-run series.

He advocates the ABC and the commercial broadcasters should switch to volume production at lower budgets, which would stimulate production. “If a policy of making six and eight hour series continues I fear disproportionately less good would be achieved," he concluded.

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